Senior High Graduate Recognition Ceremony
Submissions for the Senior Class Address will be accepted from participating graduates who have homeschooled for all four years of high school. The speech should be 3 to 5 minutes long, must be the student’s original work, and should reflect how being homeschooled through high school has impacted his/her life or helped shape who he/she is. Speeches will be judged on content (please be careful to highlight homeschooling without criticizing other methods of education), structure, presentation, and overall effectiveness.
Send a cover letter with your name, address, phone number, a written version of your speech, and a video recording of your presentation on DVD (no CDs, please), postmarked by February 27, 2013. DVDs will not be returned. The decision of the judges is final. Winners will receive a monetary gift.
Contact AFHE for Speech Contest Submission Instructions
Speech Contest Submission Deadline
February 27, 2013
Suggestions for an Effective Speech
1. Preliminary Information
You are writing a 3-5 minute speech about your experiences being homeschooled through high school and how this has affected your life. You will be speaking before well over 2,000 people, most of whom are relatives and friends of a fellow graduate.
2. Content I
What you choose to write about will be the most important decision because it will affect every aspect of your speech. Consider first your audience. There are parents out there who have sacrificed greatly to reach this point with their child. A mother who spent countless hours in research, teaching, driving to activities, instilling good habits, negotiating arguments and modeling her faith because she loved her children and wanted to give them the best education she could obtain for them. A father who supported his wife as her sole relief from a 24/7 job and provided for a household on one income in an age where two incomes is standard to maintain a middle-class lifestyle. In some way, recognize their efforts and thank them on behalf of all the graduates.
3. Content II
Have something original to say. This is a reflective point in your life and in others' lives listening to you. What have you learned about life? How will you make your mark on the world? Who are people from the past or present who inspire you? Is there a historical event that helps you put life in perspective? Feel free to share something about the centrality of your faith to your future goals and direction. But avoid truisms or trite phrases that reduce the complex world to simple black and white choices. Good people can differ on their views of the world so respect that there is some room for liberty of conscience. Also avoid mentioning specific branches of faith and/or presenting specific political figures or parties.
4. Content III
Be humorous! Find a way to lighten the moment with a funny observation or a transparent moment. This doesn’t mean you have to search joke books, but as you have others read your speech, ask them where you could add some light hearted words to put others at ease (and yourself at the same time!)
5. Delivery I
Videotape your speech in good light, standing up facing the camera, and looking at the camera. This means that you will have to memorize the speech except for a few note cards that you will prepare to glance down at in order to remember your outline and next points.
6. Delivery II
Use gestures where they are natural to do so. Look around the room as though you’re talking to people. If necessary, cut out some cardboard faces and place them at 10:00 and 2:00 so that you remember to look around. A speech delivered to one point looks wooden and stiff. You are trying to convey a sense of intimacy in a very public setting. Think of good speakers you have heard. Don’t they manage to make you think that they are speaking directly to you? And don’t forget to smile occasionally!
There are some people who are naturally dramatic, others are more serious, and others are the clown of the bunch. It doesn’t matter what type of style you have as long as it authentically reflects who you are and not someone else. You may have to think a bit about this one because this might be one of the first occasions when you have had to present your “style” to an audience. Be sure to consider the particular gifts and talents that you have discovered God has given to you.
It is difficult to choose from among the great entries for the speech contest, so be prepared that this exercise might be just that, an exercise, rather than being chosen to be the speaker. However, this experience may set you up for future speaking opportunities and you’ll be a better candidate because you tried in this instance. Effective speakers are made, not born. Good luck and get to work!